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Oceanic Steamship Company History and Ephemera

Front Cover, Oceanic Steamship Guide to Wonderland New Zealand, Its Scenic & Health Resourts, 1904.

Front Cover, Oceanic Steamship Guide to Wonderland New Zealand, Its Scenic & Health Resourts, 1904.

The Oceanic Steamship Company, American & Australian Line, Offered service between Sydney, and other ports in New Zealand and Australia, Honolulu, and San Francisco. 19 Days to Australia via Honolulu and Samoa in splendid 10,000 ton steamships, the SS Sonoma and SS Ventura.

All of their steamships have borne the names of counties of California: Mariposa, Alameda, Ventura, Sonoma, Sierra, etc. Although all these names end in "A" the coincidence is accidental.

Oceanic Steamship Company One Way Cabin Class Contract Ticket for Passage on the SS Marine Phoenix, Departing from San Francisco for Sydney, Dated 16 September 1947.

1947-09-16 Cabin Class Ticket - SS Marine Phoenix - Sydney to San Francisco

Unique cabin class passage ticket Sydney to San Francisco on USN troop transport Marine Phoenix leased by the Oceanic Steamship Company and Operated by Matson Navigation Company for this and other voyages during 1947-1949.

 

No "Subsidy" Involved

In resolutions adopted by the International Seamen's Union of America at the convention held in Chicago in January appears one statement that, unlike others made by the union, commends itself to the shipping public. "We favor any just mail subsidy on the ground that such is not a subsidy but payment for work performed," said the union.

The words apply in full to the mail contract proposed for the Oceanic Steamship Company so that it may maintain its service between San Francisco, Honolulu, Pago Pago, and Sydney.

The truth is that the Oceanic has suffered because payments made to it by the government were denominated as "subsidy" or "subvention," whereas they were nothing of the sort, but were "payment for work performed."

It would be unfortunate if the agreement arrived at by the company and the Post office Department for submission to Congress were to be confused in any particular with the Subsidy Bill, because, however much the American merchant marine in general needs aid.

Yet just the subsidy plan may be, the Oceanic contract stands on a different basis and commands, or should command, support even from those who oppose any form of governmental assistance.

How important the company's Australasian mail service is may be gathered from this fact: Sydney newspapers of April 16 were delivered in San Francisco on May 31, 1922.

Doubtless first-class mail receives quicker dispatch, but in any event sailings between the United States and Australia are infrequent enough and without the Oceanic vessels would be miserably inadequate.

There also is American Samoa to be considered, for Pago Pago is entirely dependent upon the Oceanic for communication with the United States, and if the company were to withdraw its vessels, the Navy would be compelled to open a service.

Inasmuch as official Washington has had ample time to consider all phases of the situation there is no reason whatever why the contract bill should not pass immediately.

"No 'Subsidy' Involved" in Pacific Marine Review: The National Magazine of Shipping, Vol. 19, No. 7, July 1922, p. 388-389.

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